ORLANDO, Fla. — The freshest news to come out of Newt Gingrich’s primary night party here Tuesday were the signs held by supporters on stage reading “46 States to Go”—an obvious reference to the former House speaker’s vow after losing the Florida primary to continue campaigning in the remaining states that will choose delegates to the Republican national convention (even though, as onetime White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer pointed out, he failed to qualify for the primary ballot in Missouri and Virginia and is thus on the ballot in only 44).
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Much as the signs underscored Gingrich’s determination to get his big loss in Florida behind him, so did his surrogate campaigners. One of them who spoke to HUMAN EVENTS, former Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH), emphasized that there were more than 2,000 delegates to the national convention in Tampa and only 5 per cent were so far chosen.
Smith, who now lives in Key Largo, Fla. also responded to criticism that his candidate had grown extremely nasty toward Romney during their primary bout in the Sunshine State. The former senator insisted that Gingrich had tried to talk only about issues, but “it was Romney who began the strong attacks” and did so with a major financial advantage. Gingrich was only responding to broadsides that began with Romney, Smith told us.
There was evidence that this sniping between the two major candidates was not going to go away in the coming weeks. Gingrich never formally conceded to Romney and reports were widespread that he did not call to congratulate the primary victor.